Writer Wednesday – Kate Hill

I am pleased to welcome author Kate Hill to my blog to talk about her latest release, St. Augustine’s Silhouettes.

staugustinessilhouetteskatehillIn St. Augustine’s Silhouettes the hero has a murky past and he’s not concerned with being accepted. In a world that fears those who are proud to be different, Alister St. Augustine is the first suspect in a series of murders that have taken place in a small town. People who aren’t afraid to stand out in the crowd are often mistrusted, excluded and even mistreated by others while those who blend are easily accepted, even if their motives aren’t pure.

Katherine is also an outcast in town for similar reasons. She’s drawn to Alister. Despite warnings from the townsfolk, she trusts him and appreciates his uniqueness and courage.

 

What draws you to a romance hero? Do you tend to mistrust those who don’t follow the crowd or do they stir your interest?

St. Augustine’s Silhouettes

by Kate Hill

A killer runs loose in a small American town. When free-spirited Katherine allies herself with a man dubbed Satan by the townsfolk, has she found the man of her dreams or has she fallen into the hands of a murderer?

Excerpt:

At the sound of rustling in the trees, she spun, squinting in the dimness. A cloaked figure crouched in the shadows of wild shrubs. Stifling a scream, she threw her skirts over her arm and raced toward the town square. Terrified of stopping, she didn’t pause to glance over her shoulder, though she heard heavy footsteps and the rasp of another’s breath close behind her. Hoof beats sounded in the distance. Katherine imagined the killer’s accomplice galloping toward her on a dark, fiery-eyed steed, ready to carry her body deep into the woods. She tried to leap across a narrow brook, but her boot slipped on the wet rocks. Screaming, she crashed into the muddy water, fully expecting her stalker to fall upon her.

The horse shrieked and its cloaked rider leapt off its back before it came to a complete stop. Hands covered in black gloves reached for her. She slashed at them with the scissors. Her attacker caught her wrist before the scissors struck home. The hood fell from dark hair streaked auburn in the moonlight. Dark eyes flashed at her from beneath arched brows. Katherine gasped. Alister St. Augustine’s fine lips narrowed into a grim line. His face looked ghostly against the darkness of his cloak.

“Be still,” he ordered, squeezing her wrist in his steely grip until she dropped the scissors. “Who was chasing you?”

“I don’t know. You just lost my best cutting shears in the bottom of this brook!”

“Sorry, but I don’t take kindly to nearly being stabbed.”

“If you didn’t frighten a helpless woman walking alone on a dark night, then you’d be in no danger of that.”

“I would hardly call you helpless.” He stood and offered her his hand.

After a brief hesitation, she took it and he tugged her to her feet, then released her.

He continued, “As for being out after dark, you shouldn’t be, at least not until the killer is caught. Aren’t you the dress shop girl?”

“Katherine Sinclair,” she said. Standing this close to him was almost as unsettling as being chased. She’d only seen him through his shop window. Up close he was even more handsome than she’d realized. Despite his good looks, she sensed he could be as dangerous as the man who had stalked her.

With feline grace, he mounted his charcoal gray gelding and extended his hand to her, palm up. “Are you coming, Miss Sinclair?”

She stared at him, stunned at the suggestion that she should share a horse with the man dubbed Satan by the entire town.

http://www.kate-hill.com/staugustinessilhouettes.html

About Kate

Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels. When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets. She also writes as Saloni Quinby. Visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com.

Free Flick Friday – Scents and Sensuality by Joan Reeves

Despite my best efforts, I didn’t get another blog done this week, but here I am for the second week in a row with Free Flick Friday. I’m hoping to continue to share book trailer love, so here is another. Welcome Joan Reeves and her book Scents and Sensuality.

SCENTS and SENSUALITY

 Amanda Whitfield is desperate for a man. She’ll do anything — well, almost anything — to get a date for her snooty cousin’s wedding. When a matchmaking mama proposes her son for the wedding date, Amanda agrees. After all, what choice does she have? Men aren’t exactly falling at her feet and beseeching her for the pleasure of her company.

Harrison Kincaid has had it with his mom’s matchmaking. Desperate to put an end to her meddling, he decides to teach her a lesson as well as get out of the date she’s “guilted” him into accepting.

Two desperate people, each determined to achieve their goals. Desperation makes for interesting bedfellows. Lies, seduction, and hot passion. Is it Love or just Lust? Will the truth set them free or rip them apart?

Amazon Link: www.amzn.com/B00BTIDUHW/

Now, without further adieu, here’s the promised trailer:

I love it!  It really shows the potential conflict between these two characters.  Sexy!!

Since Joan has a wealth of experience with videos, she took some time out of her busy day to give us some tips. Take it away Joan:

 

5 Quick Video Tips

Thanks, Lily, for having me here today. Here are 5 Quick Video Tips that will make it easier to create a video whether that’s one of your vacation or a business video or a book trailer.

1. Select your theme, or premise, or message you want the video to put across. Write it down so you keep your focus on the message you’re trying to convey. For a book, this might be a logline or a couple of sentences that sum up what the book is about. For a vacation, this might be the scope of the vacation–start to finish or the 1 week spent at a resort.

2. Select your art work. If you’re working with photographs, lay them out before you scan them. If art is in your computer, sketch a storyboard with squares to represent the art work and tag each rectangle, i.e., Bryan building sand castle or first kiss scene. Use a square for each photo you want to include so you can estimate the size of the video.

3. Match text, i.e., a caption, for each photo or a text block inserted between photographs. (You’ll see what I mean if you watch my videos.)

4. Music sets the tone. Hollywood has sound editors, and so do videos–you. Select the music you want playing in the background. If it’s a book trailer for a dark vampire romance, then you want moody, dramatic music. If it’s a romantic comedy, you want something lighthearted that invites the listener to smile. If it’s urban young adult, then you want something that makes one think of urban young adult, not a twangy country music soundtrack.

5. Time is crucially important. In a video for commercial purposes, like a book trailer or a product showcase, short is not better, but best. Try to make your video between 30-60 seconds long. If the video is personal, then time isn’t really a problem. It can be as long as you want IF it’s entertaining and holds the audience’s attention.

Let me know if these tips help you. I can be found online at my blog: http://SlingWords.blogspot.com / my website: http://www.JoanReeves.com / Twitter @JoanReeves / and my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/JoanReevesAuthor. Watch my other videos http://preview.tinyurl.com/Joan-Reeves-Video. I’ll be publishing new videos every month, including writing instruction and humor pieces aimed at authors, so SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss any of them.

Leave a comment with your email on my post here and tell me which of my videos you like best, and you’ll be entered to win a 60 second video created and produced by Joan Reeves Productions! Contest open until May 8. Winner will be emailed directly and announced here in the comments on my blog post.


 

Wow, Joan is being really generous. So that your email isn’t spammed like crazy by those Internet bots we all hate, you don’t have to put your email in the actual comment, but include it when you submit the comment and I will be able to see it in the background and forward it to Joan. Good luck!  Also go check out Joan’s website and blog. She has some great tips.

If you haven’t seen the book trailer for No Strings Attached, you can find it here…  If you’re a romance writer interested in visiting my blog or you have a book trailer to share for Free Flick Friday, let me know here.

Books I Read in January 2014

I’ve been meaning to do these monthly posts, but the months have gotten away from me. So here is January and expect February soon.

January was a light reading month for me. I finally picked up Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I had never read, and it’s a big one, coming in at 896 pages according to its Amazon page. Then I stuck my toe into serial fiction, but that didn’t quite go as well.

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon –

Have you ever had a book that too many people told you it was good, so you refuse to read it because you didn’t think it could be THAT good? That’s how I felt about Outlander. I look time travel romance, but the book description put me off. How could you have two love interests? I failed to realize that Outlander started a whole sub-genre.

Time travel is a familiar trope, and reading one is usually like settling into a favorite sweater. This book pushes the romance genre to its edge and back. Women’s rights  have come a long way since 1743, and many books time travel back to this era. However, often when they do, we find that amazingly enough, the male characters have modern sensibilities when it comes to women. This book doesn’t do that.

Time travel, whether through a magic stone, potion, or an existing portal,  is always complicated, but the trope usually goes like this: a young woman, not well established in life, travels back in time, falls in love, and stays with her new life. But what if she is leaving behind a life she was happy with? What if she happened to be already married and happy with her husband? If she falls in love with another man while she is in the past, is it adultery? Very few authors have the guts to go there. Diana Gabaldon went there. Well done. I don’ t think I gave too much away here, but if you haven’t read it yet, do it. Although I think I’m the last person who reads time-travel romance who hasn’t read this one. You can find an Amazon buy link in my store.

 

Yesterday’s Gone, Season One, by Sean Platt, David Wright – I hate to admit that I did not finish this one. The book was billed as similar to LOST, which it may be, but I couldn’t get far enough to tell.

The thing about LOST (which people who say their thing is like LOST forgets) is that the island started out fairly normal. Sure, we saw a polar bear, and there were some strange things, but nothing that could be defined as paranormal or alien happened until after season one. By the time the weird stuff really started, generally viewers cared about the characters and stuck around. I didn’t care about any of these characters.

This book tries to be similar to The Stand, Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic book, which has multiple groups all over the country that eventually come together. The authors may eventually get these groups together, but I couldn’t stay with it long enough to tell. There were too many different character groups, and I couldn’t remember which was which. The writing itself was well-edited and there weren’t any issues there, but the jumping around between different threads was too much for me.

On to February. Book count for the year: 1.5

I’m going by the purchases on my Kindle for my official count for the year.

Writing update: I m sending Under His Protection to my editor a chapter at a time, and I’ve send ten chapters so far. I’m still hoping for a May release date. No Strings Attached is now available on the Nook, Kobo, and the iTunes bookstore if you don’t do Kindle.

Book Time: Lost and Found by Chris Van Hakes

I try to read a variety of genres and lengths, and recently I stumbled over to the new adult/chicklit/women’s fiction side of romance and discovered Chris Van Hakes. Her debut Novel, Lost and Found, is making waves, so I decided to check it out.

I found that Chris has a fresh voice with an alternating first-person style. I don’t normally read first person, and sometimes it can grate on me, but she did a good job of having distinct voices for each of the main viewpoint characters.

Here is the text of the 5-Star Review on Amazon:

I enjoyed this book tremendously, and normally I stay away from first-person stories. In fact, I almost didn’t get it for that reason, but I read the sample and I was hooked. This book embodies the new adult genre for me — characters who are finding themselves and love at the same time. There’s not a lot of description of intercourse, but it’s there, in the background. To me that’s more realistic than pretending everyone is waiting for marriage. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

I tracked Chris down, and here is what she had to say.

Lily – Everyone always wants to know where writers get their ideas. What sparked this book for you?

Chris - I wish I had a good answer to this question, but I honestly don’t know. I read a lot, and I think I just imagine what different characters would do in different settings and interactions. I kind of believe that all fiction is fanfiction. Lost and Found is definitely partly Pride and Prejudice, which I’m a tiny bit obsessed with.
Lily – Who would be interested in reading this book?
Chris – I got a few reviews that said fans of Rainbow Rowell would like my writing, and I will take that compliment to the compliment bank. Cha-ching! I think people who like light romance and alternating points of view would like it. If you’re looking for a steamy novel, I don’t have it, but if you’re looking for a lot of romantic tension, I’ve got that.
Lily – You’ve mentioned on your blog over at www.readingandchickens.com that you don’t like to read about people “bonking”. (I love your word choice.)  There seem to be two parts of the market now, one trending towards erotica and one trending towards characters that don’t have intercourse at all. Is there still a place for a middle ground as represented in your book? Have you had readers upset on either side, expecting something else?
Chris – Ha. I actually don’t mind reading about bonking, per say. It can be sexy and hot, but at some point it gets to be…filler. I end up skimming. If it’s integral to a plot point, I don’t mind it, and I think there are some authors who do it really well. I was a big fan of Christina Lauren’s Beautiful Player, for instance, and I think even though there’s a lot of bonking in there, it works.
And yes, I think there’s definitely a middle ground. That’s what I like to read, and I can’t be the only one out there, so that’s what I write. I haven’t had any readers mention there wasn’t enough sex, but I have had a few that didn’t like the mentions of sex in the book. This is the case of “can’t please everyone, so please yourself,” I think. I write what I’m most comfortable writing for a particular character or scene. For Lost and Found, it was light on the sex. I don’t know what it will be for future novels, though.
Lily – Are you working on any follow-up books?
I am! I’m writing a new novel, another romance/women’s fiction story, called Letters from Clementine. I haven’t worked out a whole lot about it (still in first draft mess form) but I’ll probably post a synopsis about it on my blog in a few weeks. 
Thanks for interviewing me!  Here’s the amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G1X96WI
 Lily -
Go follow Chris’ Blog, where she draws cool cartoons with chickens over at www.readingandchickens.com.
Click the follow button on this blog to find out about more books in the future.